Enter the Void

Enter the Void ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Have you ever seen a story that begins with a gunshot and ends with a cumshot?

No?

Well I just did...

And it was one of the most horrifyingly beautiful psychedelic experiences I've ever had the pleasure of viewing in my life.

From what I read about the movie it seems to be pretty hit or miss with people. I pity the people who saw no substance in this film. Because underneath its nightmarish outer layer is a film that makes you laugh, makes you turn away in disgust, makes you stare on in awe, makes you feel and makes you cry. Yes, I cried. Movies rarely make me cry.

Lets make this point clear right now.

Movies. Rarely. Make. Me. Cry.

Well up? Yes. Make my lip quiver? Yes. Cry? Fuck no.

But out of the countless movies I've seen, this trip made me weep like a baby. I completely subjected myself to the movie and was in submission the whole time. The sequence involving the death of the main character is shot in POV and is done in such a realistic and brutal way, that I couldn't help feel a rush of sadness when a character I've known for only 20 minutes was dying in front of me. He is killed by a gunshot in POV, and his passing into the afterlife is shot as he sees it. While the character experiences the last moments of his life, we view this scene from his eyes and from inside his thoughts. Its a surreal and painful sequence involving the characters bloody hands sprawled out in front of him, the camera slowly but surely fading to black, cops moving his lifeless limbs, and an inner monologue getting more and more faint that whispers stuff like "was I shot?" "did they kill me?" "Is that my blood?" "I cant get up." The theoretical attention to detail here is amazing. They say your brain remains active a few minutes after you die, and that's exactly how long this sequence lasts.

This moment was shot in such a realistic way that I was fully convinced that this is what death must look like from your own eyes. The scene was depressing and terrifying all at once. I imagined myself being shot, and all the last things running through my head, and the realization hitting me that my body was beginning to fail, and I was slipping into deaths embrace. It was very hypnotic

But this tragic opening is just that. An opening. The movie really takes you on a ride after that. Fresh off of the characters death, his soul leaves his body and drifts in and out of time. We are shown the main characters life from childhood, to adulthood and his subsequent death and even the near future after the news of his shooting has shaken his loved ones to the core. Tender scenes of him bathing with his mother, and having a family picnic are shown through a camera that drifts lazily through these images like you are a wayward soul. Floating invisibly through the air. These scenes are meant to strike an emotional chord with you by asking what you think YOU would see after death. As your soul drifts through your past and present, what images would you be viewing? Would you be viewing yourself as a baby taking your first steps with someone vaguely cheering you on? Would you be shown your first day of school as your mother kisses you goodbye? Would you be shown that special bonding moment you had with your father? Maybe seeing your first love for the first time? Or perhaps none of that. Maybe just pain. This realization really hit me hard. And by this time in the film my face was soaked.

Explaining the rest of the movie would be pointless by now. Just know that the rest of the film goes off of the Tibetan Book of the Dead (referenced in the film) in the sense that the afterlife consists of your soul reliving your past present and future as a bystander in an endless loop for all eternity. It sounds frightening. And it is. When we see our past mistakes and the repercussions for our actions reflected back at us, its no fun. But there is an ambiguous light at the end of the tunnel in the form of reincarnation. This is a spiritual film in the highest degree. These events are supposed to be taken with your own beliefs and conceptions about death in mind. Many people will experience this film differently. And what higher form of art is there?

This piece of art will assault your senses, pierce your soul and hijack your emotions. The vibrant neon cinematography and explosions of color and sound create one of the most alive and creatively passionate portraits of life and death I have ever seen. Drifting over lit up tokyo, following Oscar into an underground shop where trinkets cover every inch of the wall lit up with thousands of beoght colors, and seeing a miniature model of the city righed with glow sticks and neon paint being lit up in a dark room are some of the best shots in this trip through the body and soul of the afterlife. We are only seen one loop on the endless circuit (life and death aka gunshot and cumshot) but I feel honored and privileged to see it. I'm giving it 5 stars out of personal connection and spectacle alone. Be warned that this film is not for everyone. It was barely for me, even. But if you really focus, and think long and hard about the life of poor Oscar and how his experience might parallel yours when you leave this earth, you might come out of it with the same reaction I did.

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